Generation Y or those in their teens or early twenties have started forming part of the workforce already. By 2025, it is estimated that Gen Y would be a majority of the workforce. Gen Y has different workplace requirements and aspirations as compared to their predecessors.
These youngsters are more social and have more needs to connect socially. They live and breathe the internet. Internet as a way to connect socially has widespread acceptance among the youth globally. This is different from how their previous generations connected, personally. The youth sees internet as not just a way to connect but also a way to network.
According to a CISCO report, Gen Y values their freedom, flexibility in work culture and choice of technology above most other things. 70% of Gen Y is connected with either their co-workers or superiors on their Facebook. Similarly, about 68% of Gen Y follows a co-worker or superior on Twitter. About 46% say that laptops are the most essential item of their day-to-day lives.
These numbers, which are specifically for the United States, mirror a global trend for internet and technology preference among Gen Y. This has or must have a great impact on organizations around the world and how they tackle their workforce. It is observed that about 54% organizations did not allow their workers to use social networking while at work and only 19% allow its access, that too for strictly for business purpose.
But, if the Gen Y employees are to be engaged and retained over a long term, companies and HR departments would have to make changes. Gen Y thinks differently and HR teams around the world need to embrace this fact. Some of the ways in which HR departments have started making changes are:
- Having more assessment centers to assess the personal qualities and skills of employees
- Hiring professionals based on their competencies, instead of just their degrees
- Increasing use of technology in the workplace and instituting upgraded technology usage
- Profiling personalities and assessing whether they are the best fit for the job role or company culture. Often, someone who seems like a good fit for the job role may not be a great fit for the company culture.
- Simulations and real-life scenarios are a way to assess how an employee might react in a given situation and know whether the employee has the right temperament to solve the problem. This can help HR managers and leaders to assess whether the employee is suitable to handle those scenarios or whether he/she needs help.
- Enrolling in an human resource management courses online can benefit HR professionals by helping them move up in their career.
Going forward, HR departments would need to come out with programs that are more suitable for Gen Y. For example, hiring through joint university programs, providing greater opportunities for career development and more opportunities for social networking and usage of technology.